Portuguese / Spanish / English

Is anyone listening to the children's cries in the Middle East?

I am heart-broken seeing the number of civilians being killed and wounded across the Middle East. I feel haunted by the image of the young Syrian girl, Ayah, who was crying for her father while being treated in a hospital. As it is, I have not recovered from seeing the photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi who was found lying face down on a Turkish beach just over a year ago.

I will also not forget the name Omran Daqneesh, the ash-covered, dazed and bloodied five-year-old who sat silent and in shock after surviving an airstrike. I know there are more stories, but I don't think I can handle seeing the grief-stricken images of lost and ruined lives being manipulated by unscrupulous politicians.

It frustrates me that I can do nothing about the situation. I am sure a lot of people out there, regardless of their nationality and faith, share my sentiments. People are screaming at the top of their lungs hoping these wars will stop. Their only avenue is social media, which buzzes with fluctuating emotions. Yet we don't see much changes to the situation. Daily, news agencies show footage of thunderous explosions across the region with most of them falling on residential areas, hospitals and schools.

The situation in Syria is heinous as is the case with Yemen and other nations in that region where civilians are bearing the brunt of these horrible wars. The Syrian Network of Human Rights (SNHR) reported that the women and children killed by the Assad regime amounted to a high percentage of regime kills – a gruesome indication of how his forces purposely target civilians. It stuns me that the so-called president of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, supposedly a family man and a doctor by training, could endorse Russia's violent acts. Is this a man or a member of the bloodthirsty biblical Gog and Magog tribe?

And why are the mullahs of Iran and their Hezbollah partners silent? Why have they not made any effort to stop these atrocities, since they are directly involved? Instead, they are making it worse by stirring the problems in the Arab world.

It's clear that some parties have forgotten the Islamic rules of engagement that forbid the killing of civilians. The irony is that they are also shouting "Allahu Akhbar", or God is Great, on the battlefield.  Do they honestly believe God listens to these transgressors?

Similarly, the Saudis have killed civilians in Yemen, but the Houthis are also not innocent. They fired the first shot and teamed up with Iran for support and supplies, and committed atrocities too.

We admire those who sacrifice their lives in the region to protect the civilians: the medical teams, the White Helmets and other unsung heroes who are working around the clock hoping to shield the innocent from pain. But they can only do so much as they need help from a bigger and stronger hand, if not a miracle to alleviate their daily suffering.

For this, I am looking at the United Nations because the world doesn't have a choice. I see attempts to drag Russia, along with Syria, to face the International Criminal Court, but I'm not sure if these efforts will be successful. Still, I hope the international community will do more to pressure all sides to ensure that civilians are spared further harm, given enough supplies to those in need, and offered safe passage for people trying to flee.

Yet, while I write these words, I doubt change will happen. There's just too much politicking involved. Nevertheless, I always believe in miracles.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

ArticleMiddle EastOpinionSyria
Show Comments
Writing Palestine - Celebrating the tenth year of the Palestine Book Awards - Buy your copy of the book now
Show Comments